nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
fourteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Subsidy reforms in the Middle East and North Africa: Strategic options and their consequences for the social contract By Auktor, Georgeta Vidican; Loewe, Markus
  2. Development Level of Hosting Areas and the Impact of Refugees on Natives’ Labor Market Outcomes By Dogu Tan Araci; Murat Demirci; Murat Guray Kirdar
  3. Syrian Refugees, Public Attitudes, Policy Areas and Political Parties in Turkey: A Systematic Analysis of Twitter Data By Osman Zeki Gökçe; Emre Hatipoglu
  4. Ethnic Mixing in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment and a Structural Model By Boucher, Vincent; Tumen, Semih; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
  5. Mahmoud Sami Nabi: Making the Tunisian Resurgence, Reviewed By: Javed Ahmad Khan مراجعة كتاب: خلق النهضة التونسية - تأليف: محمود سامي نابي By Reviewed By: Javed Ahmad Khan
  6. Do Refugees Cause Crime? By Aysegul Kayaoglu
  7. Aid and Radicalization: The Case of Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza By Loewenthal, Amit; Miaari, Sami H.; Hoeffler, Anke
  8. Vocational education for industrialisation: The case of Oman in a regional perspective By Langthaler, Margarita
  9. Lives Versus Livelihoods: Who Can Work from Home in MENA? By Shireen AlAzzawi
  10. The Partial and General Equilibrium Effects of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement By El-Sahli, Zouheir
  11. Perceived Complex Image and Induced Image: Concordance or Discordance in the Case of the City of Tyre By Batoul Tamim; Walid Abou-Khalil; Eliane Khalife
  12. Etude de l'injustice organisationnelle et de ses effets sur la performance au travail dans les collectivités territoriales au Maroc By Abderrahmane Ait Essbaa; Olivier Bachelard
  13. Analyse de la perception de la performance hospitalière par les acteurs internes By Amine Zenjari; Mohamed Sabar
  14. La crise du logement abordable en Jordanie By Irène SALENSON; Myriam Ababsa (IFPO); Olga Koukoui (AFD)

  1. By: Auktor, Georgeta Vidican; Loewe, Markus
    Abstract: After independence, energy and food subsidies became a cornerstone of the social contracts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. Governments spent heavily to reduce poverty and strengthen their own legitimacy. However, as government rents faded, subsidy spending became financially unsustainable and foreign donors pressed for reforms. Yet, reform has been challenging for all the governments as subsidies affect all consumers, therefore raising the risk of government delegitimisation. Several publications have analysed the subsidy reforms of various MENA countries, but few have systematically analysed their impacts on the prevailing social contracts. This paper shows that reforms in a key policy field such as subsidy spending can affect the nature of social contracts profoundly and distinctly, depending on the reform strategy. It assesses the reform processes that took place in Morocco, Egypt and Iran primarily between 2010 and 2017, thus before the United States once more tightened sanctions against Iran and before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. We argue that governments applied distinct strategies to reduce subsidy spending without provoking major social unrest to reforms, with the effect that the social contracts of the three countries changed in quite different ways. Morocco's government removed most subsidies, especially those that predominantly benefitted the middle-class. [...]
    Keywords: Subsidy reform,government spending,social contract,government legitimacy,social policy,Middle East and North Africa,Morocco,Egypt,Iran,protection,provision,political participation,subsidies,social cash transfers,public dialogue,information of public policies,repression,compensation measures
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Dogu Tan Araci (Prosus); Murat Demirci (Department of Economics, Koç University); Murat Guray Kirdar (Department of Economics, Bogazici University)
    Abstract: We examine how the impact of refugees on natives’ labor market outcomes varies by the development level of hosting areas, which has important implications for the optimal allocation of refugees across regions and countries. For this purpose, in the context of the largest refugee group in the world in a single country, Syrian refugees in Turkey, we exploit the significant variation in the development level across regions of Turkey, several of which host a substantial number of refugees. We find that the impact of refugees on natives’ labor market outcomes becomes significantly less adverse as regional development level rises. For instance, the negative effects of the refugee shock on employment and labor force participation of women observed at the mean level of development vanish at high levels of development. Moreover, while the impact of the refugees on employment of men is negative for the least developed regions, it is positive for highly developed regions. Our findings imply that developed regions and countries are in a better position in terms of protecting their local population from the adverse effects of refugees in the labor market.
    Keywords: refugees, optimal refugee allocation, labor market impact, development level, employment and wages of men and women.
    JEL: J61 O15 F22 R23 R58
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Osman Zeki Gökçe (Istanbul Medipol University); Emre Hatipoglu (KAPSAR King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Riyadh)
    Abstract: The Syrian refugee problem has become an important topic in Turkish politics. Although public opinion has played an important role in shaping policies towards Syrian refugees, our knowledge of how these attitudes are formed is scant. Taking a four-month snapshot of Turkish tweets on Syrian refugees and utilizing a novel clustering technique allowing hand-coding of their content feasible, this study assessed the relative salience of issues raised relating to refugees and tested users assign culpability to Turkish political parties regarding these issues. Findings confirm the salience of security issues and suggest that attitudes towards Syrian refugees are highly politicized
    Date: 2021–04–20
  4. By: Boucher, Vincent (Université Laval); Tumen, Semih (TED University); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton); Zenou, Yves (Monash University)
    Abstract: We study the social integration of ethnic minority children in the context of an early childhood program conducted in Turkey aimed at preparing 5-year-old native and Syrian refugee children for primary school. We randomly assign children to groups with varying ethnic composition and find that exposure to children of the other ethnicity leads to an increase in the formation of interethnic friendships, especially for Turkish children. We also find that the Turkish language skills of Syrian children are better developed in classes with a larger presence of Turkish children. We then develop a model of friendship formation with two key mechanisms: preference bias and congestion in the friendship formation process. Structural estimation of the model suggests that interethnic exposure reduces the share of own-ethnicity friends (homophily) and has a non-monotonic effect on the propensity to form own-ethnicity friendships beyond what would be expected given the size of the group (inbreeding homophily). Counterfactual analysis indicates that improvement in the language skills of Syrian children can offset more than half of the effect that ethnic bias has on friendship formation patterns. Finally, we find that for Syrian children exposure to Turkish children in the pre-school program has a long-term effect on primary school absenteeism.
    Keywords: refugees, early childhood, randomized field experiment, structural estimation, network formation, non-cognitive skills
    JEL: D85 J15 J18 Z13
    Date: 2021–04
  5. By: Reviewed By: Javed Ahmad Khan (Professor, Center for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India)
    Abstract: The economies of the Arab countries are generally projected to have shown not much inclusive economic growth, especially since the second half of the twentieth century. Keeping in view the state of underdevelopment in their economies, several Arab countries had embarked on economic and financial reforms in collaboration with international financial institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, in order to overcome their economic difficulties. This book review article sheds light on how the Arab Spring of 2011 resulted in income and wealth inequalities, weak investments, and growing unemployment in Tunisia. The book under review, Making the Tunisian Resurgence, by Mahmoud Sami Nabi, raises theoretical as well as practical debate on the possibility of applying Islamic modes of financing in the present-day Tunisian economy. While highlighting the economic ideas of Ibn Khaldun, the author presents a new alternative to the capitalistic economic model at the practical front and defends at a good length the application of equity finance, Islamic bonds, ?uk?k, crowdfunding, and trade finance, with special focus on the role of participatory banks (Islamic banks), zakah and waqf so as to access the potential of coupling cooperatives and microfinance in generating jobs for youth in the country. اقتصادات الدول العربية لم تظهر الكثير من النمو الاقتصادي الشامل في الغالب، وخاصة منذ النصف الثاني من القرن العشرين. ونظرا لحالة التخلف في اقتصاداتها، شرعت العديد من البلدان العربية في إصلاحات اقتصادية ومالية بالتعاون مع المؤسسات المالية الدولية، مثل صندوق النقد الدولي والبنك الدولي، للتغلب على الصعوبات الاقتصادية. مراجعة الكتاب هذه يلقي الضوء على الكيفية التي أسفر بها الربيع العربي لعام 2011م عن عدم المساواة في الدخل والثروة، وضعف الاستثمارات، وتزايد البطالة في تونس. يثير الكتاب تحت المراجعة "خلق النهضة التونسية"، الذي أعده محمود سامي نابي، جدلاً نظريًا وعمليًا حول إمكانية تطبيق أدوات التمويل الإسلامي في الاقتصاد التونسي الحالي. مع تسليط الضوء على الأفكار الاقتصادية لابن خلدون، يقدم المؤلف بديلاً جديدًا للنموذج الاقتصادي الرأسمالي على الجبهة العملية ويدافع بالتفصيل عن تطبيق تمويل الأسهم والسندات الإسلامية (الصكوك) والتمويل الجماعي والتمويل التجاري، مع التركيز بشكل خاص حول دور البنوك القائمة على المشاركة (البنوك الإسلامية) والزكاة والأوقاف وذلك للاستفادة من إمكانات اقتران المؤسسات التعاونية مع مؤسسات التمويل الأصغر في إيجاد وظائف للشباب في البلاد.
    Keywords: Crowdfunding, Ibn Khaldun, Musharakah, Sukuk, Participatory bank, Social justice, Zakah, Waqf. التمويل الجماعي، ابن خلدون، المشاركة، صكوك، البنوك القائمة على المشاركة، العدالة الاجتماعية، الزكاة، الوقف.
    JEL: F63 F65 O23
    Date: 2020–01
  6. By: Aysegul Kayaoglu (Istanbul Technical University)
    Abstract: The impact of immigration on crime continues to stir heated debates in public policy circles around the world whilst surveys indicate that host societies favor mitigating measures because they are concerned of what they perceive as an impingement on their security with each new wave of migration inflow. Whether there is any truth to such perceptions, however, remains a mystery for the case of developing countries since causal evidence is extremely limited. That those countries host the overwhelming majority of the global refugee population makes it paramount for researchers to supply the missing scientific link. Propelled by the magnitude of this need, this paper analyzes the impact of refugees on crime rates using the case of Turkey that hosts the world’s largest refugee population within any national borders. In doing so, it uses instrumental variables, Difference-in-Differences (DiD) and Staggered DiD methods to explain if the war-fleeing Syrian refugees pushed Turkey’s crime rates higher both in the short and the long-run. Controlling for various time-varying characteristics of provinces and presenting a battery of robustness checks against various identification threats, its findings show either null or negative effects of refugees on the incidence of criminal activity in the country.
    Date: 2021–04–20
  7. By: Loewenthal, Amit (Tel Aviv University); Miaari, Sami H. (Tel Aviv University); Hoeffler, Anke (University of Konstanz)
    Abstract: In this paper we study how radical political factions secure support. In order to achieve their objective of gaining support, radical political factions can choose from a number of specific strategies. They can provide financial assistance and generate a reciprocal relationship with their beneficiaries (political clientelism). On the other hand, financial assistance from other, non-radical sources, may raise the opportunity cost from militant policies performed by radical factions, making recipients of such financial assistance less likely to support radicals (opportunity cost theory). Smaller payments may induce loyalty, especially if the assistance is part of a "club good" offered by the radical faction, (club good theory). Costly forms of political violence by the radical faction signal resolve and may attract more support, (outbidding theory). We examine all four tactics for the case of Hamas, a radical faction in the Palestinian National Authority. We exploit a unique dataset that includes the sources and extent of assistance received by Palestinian households, data on Israeli and Palestinian fatalities as well as data on the level of support for particular Palestinian factions. We find that residents of districts that receive assistance from religious charities are more likely to support Hamas, even though this support is relatively small in monetary terms. These support patterns are in line with existing theory on armed religious groups as club good providers. By comparison, residents of districts who receive more material aid from Palestinian Authority agencies are more likely to support Fatah, except in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Finally, aid from international organizations is associated with support for moderate factions and decreased support of radical factions. While it is possible that charities only target districts and households that support them, testing for reverse causality, by regressing charity support on lagged political preferences, yields no such evidence.
    Keywords: Hamas, charities, radicalization, conflict, Palestine, humanitarian aid
    JEL: D72 D74 H56
    Date: 2021–04
  8. By: Langthaler, Margarita
    Abstract: As part of its 2040 Development Strategy, the Sultanate of Oman aims at industrial diversification. This shall allow the country to overcome its dependence on petroleum exports and to create employment for its fast-growing population. The development of a sustainable system of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) plays a key role for the advancement of an industrial sector that is currently locked into a low skill-low productivity vicious circle. Despite important socio-economic disparities, there are also substantial similarities in the social and cultural patterns of skills development in the countries of the Arab World. The case of Oman might therefore offer valuable insights in a regional perspective.
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Shireen AlAzzawi (Santa Clara University)
    Abstract: Since it began in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world economy. The impact on MENA countries and their citizens can be framed by the trade-off between lives and livelihoods:the attempt to save lives by imposing social distancing and strict lockdowns has had a severe impact on the ability of workers to maintain their livelihoods as businesses have downsized or shut down in the face of declining demand. MENA countries have also suffered from the simultaneous oil price shock, which has had both direct effects on oil-exporting countries and indirect impacts on oil-importing and fragile countries, through the effect on migrant workers. In this study, we investigate the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, by examining the extent to which jobs can be successfully performed remotely. We develop a teleworkability index using micro data on occupational characteristics. We find that relatively few jobs in MENA countries are compatible with teleworking. While this share varies considerably by industry, gender, age and the nature of employment (formal vs informal), the digital divide (a lack of reliable access to vital tools for teleworking, such as a personal computer and reliable internet access) make teleworking unlikely in practice even for those whose jobs could potentially be performed remotely. Our results confirm that the workers who were most vulnerable before the pandemic will be the hardest hit
    Date: 2021–04–20
  10. By: El-Sahli, Zouheir
    Abstract: Regional trade agreements among developing countries are understudied in the literature. The Greater-Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) is one such agreement among the Arab countries. The few existing studies on GAFTA suffer from many shortcomings that we address in this study. We incorporate the latest advances in the literature to investigate the partial and general equilibrium effects of GAFTA. The partial equilibrium estimates suggest that GAFTA had a positive and significant effect on bilateral trade of around 40% in 1998 and 61% seven years later after the phasing out of tariffs. The general equilibrium analysis suggests that the welfare effects of the agreement are very small and mostly negligible in the member states. The results highlight that deeper integration among the Arab countries is imperative to bring about further welfare benefits to the member states. This result can be generalized to recommend deeper regional trade agreements among developing countries to capitalize on the benefits of free trade.
    Keywords: free trade agreements, Greater-Arab Free Trade Agreement, economic integration, international trade, gravity model, general equilibrium
    JEL: F1 O1 O2
    Date: 2021–02
  11. By: Batoul Tamim (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers); Walid Abou-Khalil; Eliane Khalife
    Date: 2021–01–05
  12. By: Abderrahmane Ait Essbaa (UJML3 Droit - Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 - Faculté de Droit - UJML - Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 - Université de Lyon); Olivier Bachelard (emlyon business school)
    Abstract: L'objet de cette recherche est de comprendre en profondeur les pratiques managériales responsables de développement des sentiments d'injustice et de montrer les effets de cette injustice perçue sur la performance des fonctionnaires des collectivités territoriales. Sur la base de cette problématique, l'approche développée s'articule autour de deux volets. a) Un cadre théorique et conceptuel relatif à l'injustice organisationnelle et la performance individuelle au travail. b) Une étude qualitative (Bardin, 2013) auprès des fonctionnaires des collectivités territoriales au Maroc. Les résultatsobtenus révèlent qu'un ensemble des mécanismes formels et des pratiques managériales participent au développement des sentiments d'injustice au travail, ainsi, cette injustice impacte négativement la performance des fonctionnaires et des collectivités territoriales en général.
    Keywords: Injustice organisationnelle,performance au travail,collectivités territoriales
    Date: 2021–03–04
  13. By: Amine Zenjari (Groupe ISCAE: Institut supérieur de commerce et d’administration des entreprises); Mohamed Sabar (Groupe ISCAE: Institut supérieur de commerce et d’administration des entreprises)
    Abstract: Cet article présente une étude qualitative exploratoire des différentes dimensions de la performance telles que perçues par les acteurs internes de l'hôpital public marocain. C'est le résultat d'une enquête menée auprès des cadres des hôpitaux marocaines sur les dimensions et le concept de la performance. Nous avons emprunté le modèle de [Sicotte et al.,1998], qui repose sur la théorie de l'action sociale de [Parsons,1951]. Les données collectées via un questionnaire ont été traitées via une analyse en composantes principales, ensuite une analyse de régression pour tester les relations entre les dimensions de la performance. Les résultats obtenus confirment que la performance est un concept multidimensionnel. La comparaison entre les opinions des acteurs nous montre qu'il y a des points d'ententes, mais aussi des divergences en ce qui concerne ce qu'est un hôpital performant.
    Keywords: Évaluation de la performance,Hôpital public,Relations entre dimensions,EGIPSS
    Date: 2020–10–26
  14. By: Irène SALENSON; Myriam Ababsa (IFPO); Olga Koukoui (AFD)
    Abstract: Les services financiers et le secteur immobilier contribuent à hauteur de 25.5 % au PIB, dont 16.2 % pour le seul secteur immobilier et 3,3 % pour le secteur de la construction. Stimulé par la croissance démographique et par l’arrivée de plusieurs vagues de réfugiés, le secteur privé jordanien a produit 1,1 million de logements entre 2004 et 2015, doublant ainsi le parc immobilier.
    Keywords: Jordanie
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2021–04–08

This nep-ara issue is ©2021 by Paul Makdissi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.